by STEVE MURRELL — Although I spent the majority of my adult life in the Philippines, I now spend a large portion of my time in the United States. I still travel around the world, periodically visiting jungle huts, great international cities, and groups of people who meet in secret at great personal risk. Those experiences help me push the mental and spiritual reset button. They help me shake off the sad obsession with size and numbers that is so pervasive in western culture. I frequently remind myself that I am called to make disciples, not to build churches. Too many North American pastors and church planters find their value in the number of people who show up at church events.
Jesus said He would build His church — a church that spreads the Gospel and advances Christ’s kingdom; the kind of church that the gates of Hell would not be able to withstand. Since Jesus has a long history of doing what He says He will do, He probably does not need my help.
Note to self: your job is to make disciples, not to build a church. If you make disciples, Jesus will build them into a great church. If Jesus had been obsessed with numerical growth like many pastors today, He would have felt like a failure.
QUESTION: After three years of preaching good news, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and discipling twelve men, how many members did Jesus have in His “church?”
ANSWER: “In those days Peter stood up among the believers — a group numbering about one hundred and twenty” (Acts 1:15).
__Many modern church planters with similar results would be thinking about a career change.
One hundred and twenty believers in three years. Outreach magazine would have completely ignored those results. Likewise, many modern church planters with similar results would be thinking about a career change.
While it took three years to grow from twelve to 120 people, it only took weeks for 120 to grow to thousands. Why? Because SLOW IS FAST.
If we focus on making disciples — which is a slow, tedious process — it is just a matter of time before those disciples begin to multiply out of control. That is the Book of Acts. And if you focus on making disciples and leave the church growth to Jesus, that can be your church.
From the book WikiChurch;
To the leaders formulating their own process of making disciples, I tell them that the details of their system are not as important as their commitment to the process. Even if you have the perfect process for your community, it would not automatically work without commitment and consistency.
We have updated and adjusted our methods for decades, not because we have nothing better to do, but because some aspect of our process was not working as well as it should. Even though we have gained momentum over the years with the Victory discipleship process, it does not fuel itself. The process requires focused, hard work to keep it running.
What enables us to keep putting in the effort, fixing the problems, and seeking God for continual improvement? We have committed ourselves to making disciples, not increasing or maintaining our numbers. We are not committed to reaching politicians, athletes, actors, rich people, poor people, or smart people. Nor are we committed to prosperity, political influence, popularity, or fame. We did not set out to formulate and implement a discipleship strategy to see whether it would work. What keeps us going is not merely a long-term commitment but a lifetime commitment to the Great Commission. We are here to honor God and make disciples. We have no plan B.
Steve Murrell is the President of Every Nation Churches and Every Nation Ministries, and the Founder of Victory Philippines.
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